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OmniVision Launches Second-Generation Backside Illumination Pixel Technology

SANTA CLARA, Calif. , Feb. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ –OmniVision Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: OVTI), a leading developer of advanced digital imaging solutions, today announced the introduction of the world's first 1.1-micron backside illumination (BSI) pixel. The new OmniBSI-2™ pixel architecture represents a major milestone in digital imaging technology, and enables new imaging solutions with superiorimage quality and low-light sensitivity. The architecture also extends OmniVision's pixel roadmap to sub-micron levels, and serves as a key enabler in the continuous miniaturization of digital imaging technology.

“OmniBSI-2 drives the development of higher resolution image sensor solutions with an aggressive form factor and lower z-height for ultra-thin products,” said Bruce Weyer , vice president of worldwide marketing at OmniVision. “OmniBSI-2 advances the digital imaging market by enabling improved image quality and enhanced low-light performance that dramatically improves the user experience in video-based applications. OmniBSI-2 technology can also be applied to larger pixel designs to achieve performance advantages that exceed current BSI and FSI imaging sensors.”

OmniBSI-2 is OmniVision's second-generation BSI technology, and is the first pixel built on a 300-mm copper process at 65 nm design rules developed in cooperation with strategic manufacturing partner, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC). By combining custom 65 nm design rules and new manufacturing process modules, the 1.1-micron OmniBSI-2 pixel achieves industry-leading low-light sensitivity as well as significantly reduced dark current and full-well capacity. OmniBSI-2's custom pixel design rules also enable better pixel layout, better isolation, and significantly reduced crosstalk. Each of these advances represents a substantial improvement over the first generation OmniBSI™ technology resulting in better image quality, enhanced color reproduction and improved camera performance.

“By comparison, the new 1.1-micron OmniBSI-2 pixel not only outperforms our current 1.75-micron FSI architecture, but it also equals the performance of our industry-leading 1.4-micron BSI pixel that is currently in mass production,” commented Dr. Howard Rhodes , vice president of process engineering at OmniVision. “Migrating to 1.1-micron BSI pixel architecture required moving production to TSMC's state-of-the-art 300-mm copper process, which enabled substantially improved design rules and more advanced process tools, resulting in tighter process control and improved defect density. Key to our success was the joint development by the OmniVision and TSMC R&D teams of multiple new process modules that substantially improved opto-electronic performance.  We also leveraged our close partnership with joint venture partner VisEra Technologies to establish a 300-mm color filter fabrication capability.”

“OmniVision and TSMC have been long standing partners in CMOS Image Sensor development. Our engineering teams collaboratively push the boundaries of digital imaging, making them an excellent development and manufacturing partners,” said Sajiv Dalal , vice president, business management at TSMC North America. “OmniVision's product migration to 300-mm manufacturing will give it a clear competitive edge and we stand committed to continuously drive improved efficiencies to help widen the gap.”

TSMC provides the foundry segment's leading CIS technology with the largest CIS production capacity.  In 2009, TSMC supported a total capacity of approximately ten million eight-inch equivalent wafers, a six percent increase over its 2008 production capacity.

“TSMC has been a valuable partner in making the transition to this advanced process node,” added Dr. Rhodes. “Their experience and expertise in 300-mm processing at the advanced technology nodes and ability to continue enhancing the sensor performance have been invaluable in ramping this new pixel technology so quickly and seamlessly.”

OmniVision's new OmniBSI-2 technology will be demonstrated to customers by appointment at the Mobile World Congress, February 15 through 18, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain .

About OmniBSI Technology

OmniBSI and OmniBSI-2 represent a revolution in the mass production of CMOS image sensors (CIS), adopting a radically advanced approach to traditional pixel architectures. OmniBSI technologies provide the basis for future CIS architectures by enabling continued improvements in sensitivity, color reproduction and image quality while continuing to reduce designs down to 0.9-micron pixels and beyond.

OmniBSI technology involves turning the image sensor upside down and applying color filters and micro lenses to the backside of the pixel so that light is collected through the backside of the sensor. It effectively reverses the arrangement of layers so that metal and dielectric layers reside below the sensor array, providing the most direct path for light to travel into the pixel, which optimizes the fill factor to deliver best-in-class low-light sensitivity, image quality and color reproduction.

About OmniVision

OmniVision Technologies (NASDAQ: OVTI) is a leading developer of advanced digital imaging solutions. Its award-winning CMOS imaging technology enables superior image quality in many of today's consumer and commercial applications, including mobile phones, notebooks, netbooks and webcams, digital still and video cameras, security and surveillance, entertainment devices, automotive and medical imaging systems. Find out more at www.ovt.com.

Safe-Harbor Language

Certain statements in this press release, including statements regarding the expected benefits, performance, capabilities, and potential market appeal of OmniBSI-2 technology are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties, which could cause the forward-looking statements and OmniVision's actual results to differ materially, include, without limitation: potential errors, design flaws or other problems with OmniBSI-2, customer acceptance, demand, and other risks detailed from time to time in OmniVision's Securities and Exchange Commission filings and reports, including, but not limited to, OmniVision's annual report filed on Form 10-K and quarterly reports filed on Form 10-Q. OmniVision expressly disclaims any obligation to update information contained in any forward-looking statement.

OmniVision® is a registered trademark of OmniVision Technologies, Inc. The OmniVision logo, OmniBSI™ and OmniBSI-2™are trademarks of OmniVision Technologies, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

SOURCE OmniVision Technologies, Inc.

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